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What Is Considered a High-Asset Divorce in Santa Barbara?

Aug 21, 2023 | Divorce/Marital Dissolution

The decision to end a marriage and file for divorce is difficult and emotionally devastating. It can overwhelm many people who wonder how they will care for themselves and their families in the wake of potential financial disputes. When a divorcing couple has a large amount of assets, whether in financial form or as properties and businesses, this complicates the process further. It can cause people to express contention, animosity, and distrust regarding the division of these assets.

If a divorcing couple cannot come to an agreement about what constitutes the equitable division of their assets, a dedicated family law attorney should be contacted so that they can successfully navigate the intricacies of a high-asset divorce. Your rights and your future security matter, and you deserve to experience relief from the stress of attempting to manage the complexities of this situation on your own.

What is considered a High Asset Divorce in Santa Barbara?

Dividing Community Property in a High-Asset Divorce

California is a community property state, which means that your assets, including properties or businesses which were purchased during the tenure of the marriage, are eligible for division. However, there are numerous specifics to a high-asset divorce that an efficient and devoted family law attorney and legal team can assist you in understanding and dealing with.

A high-asset divorce will ultimately involve a significant amount of assets and a large net worth. It is typically identified as such when one or both spouses have over one million dollars worth of assets. Due to the high amount of assets that they have acquired, it follows that the divorce proceedings are often lengthy and challenging. The couple must specifically identify all assets, which can be quite tedious, and investigations are sometimes required to find the proper value of investments, property, businesses, and more.

Elements of a High-Asset Divorce

A high-asset divorce will contain the same elements as any other divorce, which includes determining spousal support, alimony, child custody, and child support. The difference lies in the distribution process, which becomes exponentially complex due to the potential existence of multiple properties, investments in stocks, money markets, and other industries. Further complications include the typically high earnings accumulated by one or both spouses and the possible ownership of one or more businesses.

Whatever the assets are, they must first be identified and then disclosed in a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure. This will illustrate the worth of all assets and property, allowing them to determine what can be split equitably under the community property laws.


Q: What Is the Financial Split in a Divorce in California?

A: Under California law, spouses are viewed as one party, even when they decide to divorce. Because of this, any assets, as well as debt, must either be split 50/50 between the couple or split in a way that is fair and equitable. If the couple decides and agrees to a different arrangement, they are allowed to split the assets as they see fit. However, any property that is considered to be marital property, meaning that it was acquired while the couple was married, is considered community property. Other assets owned separately do not need to be divided equitably.

Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

A: There are no specific guidelines that outline spousal support or alimony for wives in California, but she may nonetheless be entitled to 50% of marital assets and 40% of her spouse’s income. The main goal of alimony in California is to ensure that the spouse who earns less can still maintain the standard of living that they are accustomed to. In a high-asset divorce, the judge may consider other factors when making their ruling, such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The spouses’ health status
  • The total assets and worth
  • The amount of assets and support that will be necessary to maintain the expected standard of living

Q: Is Everything Split 50/50 in a Divorce in California?

A: It is not true that California requires all assets to be divided 50/50 between spouses. Rather, marital property, which is considered community property, is subject to a fair and equitable division. This does not always add up to 50/50, exactly. For instance, there is no way to split a home or building into two halves. Property that can fall under the community property definition includes the following:

  • Motor vehicles
  • Furniture
  • Stocks
  • Investment accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Cash
  • Businesses
  • Real estate

Separate property that does not need to be divided includes:

  • Gifts
  • Inheritances
  • Anything that was owned prior to the marriage
  • Items that were purchased with inheritance money or money that was given as a gift

Q: Who Gets the House in a California Divorce?

A: Who gets a familial home depends on the couple and what they can or will agree to. If the house is owned separately by one spouse, it is their property to do with what they will. Sometimes, couples will agree on who can stay in the house, even if it is owned separately and not a marital asset. Even in this ideal situation, a court must still review this agreement to make it official under the law. If the house is owned jointly and the couple cannot agree on who it should go to, property division laws dictate that it must be divided as community property.

Contact Drury Pullen Law

At Drury Pullen Law, we understand that dividing financial assets during a divorce is a stressful and emotionally overwhelming task. You have spent so much time and energy growing and maintaining your assets, and we want to ensure that you do not lose out financially and can face your future with security and promise.

Our knowledge of California law and the local legal community in Santa Barbara enables us to evaluate your finances and your needs. We can determine how to help you divide your money, property, and other financial holdings with your ex-partner and, in doing so, secure your lifestyle moving forward. Please contact us today regarding your high-asset divorce. We are eager to represent you and offer you the greatest possible outcome in your case.

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